We have all been there finding ourselves too busy with client work to breathe and then the roller coaster heads downward and we’re searching for new projects. It can be challenging to devote any time to developing new work when your plate is already full. But, what happens when we’ve eaten what we’ve killed, proverbially speaking?
I work with law firm clients consistently who voice the same complaint: “I’m so busy, until I’m not.” This common thread began my wheels turning on how to stabilize the perennial ebbs and flows of business development and how, if at all, can lawyers take proactive steps to get and keep momentum in their practices.
At the outset, I will directly state that those who engage in random acts of marketing need to just stop i t … now. It’s a waste of all your resources and, in the end, doesn’t reflect well on you as a business owner. Instead, I offer a better approach: develop and maintain a balanced approach by creating momentum to your business development efforts.
When lawyers genuinely invest in building a prosperous practice, one of the quickest ways to get there is by focusing your time and energy on the concrete steps that matter most: delivering extraordinary service to existing clients (to sow the seeds for recurring assignments) and targeted relationship-building to develop new clients and referral sources.
By taking concrete action in a purposeful way, you will generate momentum which must be sustained to build traction with your business development efforts. The more you can just do it, the more momentum you will build; the more comfortable you will be with the task; and the more effective you will be.
Often, we see attorneys begin on a high note, commit themselves to one or two business development initiatives, then struggle with sustaining the momentum. Follow through is critical to building a prosperous practice.
In short, the momentum is stunted and whatever traction they created was lost. Below are steps lawyers can take to create and sustain momentum long term:
Plan for Sueeess- Once and for all, stop the random acts of marketing that waste valuable resources and, most likely, end up making you feel like you are failing. Develop a six-month plan. Write down concrete action steps you will take on a weekly, if not daily, basis to meet your goals
Schedule these concrete action steps (such as reaching out to two-three referral sources every week for either a coffee date or lunch/dinner; draft a blog post twice month, etc.) in a calendar, whether that is paper or digital, do what works best for you. These should become non-negotiable commitments that you will honor and discipline yourself to take. Don’t be shy to reward yourself after each action that you take.
Get Moving – Start reaching out according to your action steps. Begin researching blog topics. Research your Linkedln connections for prospective introductions. Choose one action item that will contribute to one of your goals and take immediate action. Get moving, today. This means no postponing, no delaying, no procrastinating, no excuses.
Stay Focused – Remind yourself of your goals every day and stay focused on them. Post visual reminders on your mirrors at home, on your computer screen at work. When you find yourself distracted by something that is not directly in line with your goals, ask yourself, “Why?” Identify how you will manage future distractions and look for ways to eliminate them.
Stay Active-Do something every day that will bring you closer to your goals. It doesn’t need to be big – it must be consistent and persistent. If too many days pass between actions, momentum will dwindle and eventually die.
Avoid Paralysis by Analysis– Nothing slows momentum more than indecision. Decide as quickly as possible and then take some immediate action to support the decision – no matter how trivial it seems.
Seek Support– Many successful rainmakers say that you must have an insightful coach and trusted adviser to guide you along the way. Build a strong team of supporters to help you to get and stay focused and to support your desire to bring cohesion and build a strong momentum to your business-building vision. All things are possible, if you keep your eye on the goal.
Remember, My Mantre – marketing success comes only through the consistent, persistent massive amounts of action over a prolonged period of time. There are no magic bullets or shortcuts to success!